Zoom adding live translation services, coming to Facebook VR

Washington: Popular American video teleconferencing service Zoom has plans to expand its support for automatic live transcriptions with the addition of live translation, and turn its whiteboard feature into more of a fully-featured app, among several other changes, which the company announced at its Zoomtopia conference on Monday.

According to The Verge, automatic live transcriptions / closed captions in English were announced to be coming to free Zoom accounts in February 2021. Now Zoom has said it “plans to provide real-time transcription for (as many as 30 additional languages) by the end of next year.”

As part of that push, Zoom will also offer translation services for paid accounts, with the plan “to support real-time translation across as many as 12 languages by the end of next year.”

Zoom wasn’t able to share details about which languages will be supported and when, but did say these improvements are a direct result of the machine learning know-how it gained by acquiring German translation company Kites.

The other major change coming to Zoom is its whiteboard feature. Zoom currently lets you create and share whiteboards during meetings to doodle together while you talk, but a planned expansion launching in beta later this year will make Zoom Whiteboard available outside of meetings in Zoom apps and the web.

The basic drawing tools don’t appear to be different from what Zoom currently offers, the main change is how Zoom is treating Whiteboard as a product alongside video calls, rather than a feature that lives inside of them. Users will be able to add sticky notes, drawings, and comments on their boards and view them whenever they want.

As per The Verge, early next year, Zoom will be coming to Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms. The shared VR meeting space will be able to host video meetings and connect to Zoom Whiteboard, according to Zoom.

In VR, you can pin a Zoom Whiteboard to your virtual desk or to the wall for everyone to see, and draw along with colleagues attending a meeting through a traditional computer.